How to turn your team into advisors

A group of people in a business meeting learning to upskill to become advisors sit around a table with coffees, notebooks, pens and calculators.

Replacing employees can add as much as 150% on top of your annual staffing costs. But, developing your team is not just about retention. It’s about keeping them interested and engaged – something turning them into advisors can help with. Plus, you can future proof your firm and discover additional revenues.

One place to focus learning is advisory. While they may be great accountants, your team may not be natural advisors – and what’s more, your client may not seem them in that light.

By taking some key steps to teach them new skills, but also to change the culture within your business, firms can move more easily to a new, successful business model.

1. Create a culture of learning

Creating a culture of education doesn’t have to be difficult. In team meetings, let everybody know you’ve got an open-door policy when it comes to suggestions. Newer hires may have brought some great ideas with them, while people who’ve worked for you for longer may notice how efficiency could be raised in certain areas. Communication is a core element of education, so get the ball rolling with conversation.

Consider buddying up more experienced staff with newer, less experienced juniors. Even if this is just for an hour or two a week, there will be a more friendly atmosphere in the office and a lot of knowledge will be imparted.

This will also help your less experienced staff plan for their futures. By having the guidance of an experienced advisor, they’ll start to get a grasp of which direction they’d like to take in their careers. This is great for your firm, as the chances are they’ll want to grow further in a supportive environment.

2. Embrace CPD

Getting an industry-approved qualification will allow the team to close gaps in their knowledge. We have a culture of learning here at Futrli, and it’s incredibly beneficial for the entire team. We believe in this so much that we launched our Advisory Certification course last year, a comprehensive scheme that takes you from the very basics of forecasting all the way to rolling out your new way of working.

Catching up with Niall McGinnity from Nuvem9, a cloud-based advisory firm, he told us he found the course to help him take his client meetings to the next level. Understanding the need for projecting figures, he told us:

Certification makes sure you’re learning every element of forecasting – costs, revenues, past results. It has certainly closed knowledge gaps and saved me bucket loads of time because I’m now using Futrli in the most efficient way.


3. Conquer industry events

Getting out and about at industry events will improve the comradery of your team, but also help everyone come out of their shells. Sometimes networking will seem daunting, so pairing off your staff to work the room together can take some of the pressure away. You’ll notice this will help get some of the staff chatting to people in higher levels to themselves, and some might go the other way, helping less experienced people.

If you can find events with speakers and lecturers, even better. Seek out these events and have the team take notes. Even if they’re regulars at these kinds of things, there’s a good chance their memories will be refreshed on at least one topic.

4. Measure personalised KPIs

Key performance indicators set a level of accountability for everyone involved in your firm, a clear guide to your expectations. When staff feel like they’re positively contributing to their company, they’ll feel a lot more satisfied with their roles. Involve staff in the creation of these targets, as they need to believe in what they’re doing.

After a time, review their progress. If people have worked well, congratulate them which lends itself easily to motivating. Your team are the gatekeepers to success, so keeping them engaged and happy is a priority.

Practice what you preach and use KPIs as markers for where you want your firm to grow, and which people or areas might need additional help. We have a fully-stocked KPI Library to help you get going, and a beginner’s guide.

Speaking to Anna Carthew, Marketing Manager at The Peloton, was insightful as the firm make sure they really get under the hood of each business on their books. Definitely something that could be employed in your firm, she said,

We make the targets personal so the clients really get what they want to get out of it, so we might measure things like how much time they’re saving this week to spend with their kids.


5. Coach your teams on selling

Training and support around client meetings will go a long way. Doing practice runs periodically will allow you to review the kinds of things the team are saying, and how they’re approaching services you provide. Selling doesn’t come naturally for everyone, so guidance in this area is likely to be appreciated.

One great way of starting a client meeting comes from Andrew Van De Beek, Owner of advisory firm Illumin8, Australia. He spends the initial meeting getting to know the client and their business. Drawing a graph in front of them, he gets the client to mark where they think they stand on their business journey.

That leads the conversation to how and why the business operates. Then Andrew will mark the graph himself with a more accurate cross. This shows clients they may be ahead or behind where they thought they were – and what opportunities can help them grow further.

Our community of advisors certainly all agree on one thing: ask your clients questions. Getting to know personal and professional goals will help you set their targets, ones which will steer them towards what they want to get out of life and business. When your clients are on the right path, it’ll be great for your firm, as with that will come client retention and referrals.

Successful client meetings will give your team a rush of excitement and motivation – keep guiding them to victory.

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